ANAS Sarwar refused to say if there was anything he disagreed with in the SNP’s Gaza ceasefire motion - despite repeatedly being pushed on it.

While the Scottish Labour leader admitted, after being shown the 122-word motion set for a House of Commons debate on Wednesday, that it looked like it was “perfectly reasonable”, he would not fully commit to supporting it.

Sarwar said that SNP and Labour whips were currently in discussions ahead of the crucial vote to see how “we can unify around a motion that backs a ceasefire”.

Speaking to journalists at Scottish Labour’s conference at the SEC in Glasgow, Sarwar also insisted that MP Ian Murray was “unequivocal” in his vote for a ceasefire and refuted the suggestion that his refusal to use the word “immediate” showed a difference in position between himself and the shadow Scottish secretary.

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It comes after Scottish Labour party members backed a motion calling for an immediate ceasefire, and urged Murray and Rutherglen and Hamilton West MP Michael Shanks to vote for a ceasefire in Gaza “when given an opportunity”.

The SNP’s motion “calls for an immediate ceasefire in Gaza and Israel”, noting that the death toll has now risen beyond 28,000 people, the majority of whom are women and children.

It “condemns any military assault” on Rafah, where 1.5 million Palestinians are currently seeking refuge, as well as the “immediate release” of hostages by Hamas.

The short motion further calls for an “end to the collective punishment” of Palestinians by Israel, adding that “the only way to stop the slaughter of innocent civilians is to press for a ceasefire now”.

The National: Stephen Flynn

After being shown the short motion during a huddle with journalists, Sarwar would not be drawn on giving it his support.

Asked if there was anything in the text that he disagreed with, he said: “Well I would hope that there is nothing in what Keir Starmer said today that Stephen Flynn could disagree with.

“Just like I hope that people can come together and show a unified voice from the UK Parliament.”

Pressed again, Sarwar said his position on a ceasefire had been “consistent”, but added that while it seemed “pretty reasonable” he would wait to see what was published in the Commons and any further amendments.

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When it was pointed out that the motion he read is likely to be exactly what is laid in Parliament, Sarwar said: “We all want the same thing, Stephen Flynn and I both want an immediate ceasefire, both the UK party and the Scottish party want one as well.

“I think it looks like a pretty decent motion but if we can send a unified message from the UK Parliament then we should take that opportunity.”

He then said that engaging in “good faith” is more important than “two political parties having a go at each other”.

Asked by The National if he would be disappointed if the two Scottish Labour MPs didn’t vote for a ceasefire in the Commons, Sarwar said that Murray was “very clear” in referencing the conference motion in his speech earlier that day that he “supports a ceasefire”.

The National:

He added: “Ian Murray was very unequivocal in his view today…”

When The National pointed out he didn’t go so far as to say an “immediate” ceasefire, despite the motion passed by delegates, Sarwar said: “To be honest the one thing I want to not get involved in is this kind of debate around which words go beside which words, when [in] actual fact what matters here is what the words mean, and what they mean for the people on the ground in Israel and Gaza.”

The Scottish Labour leader also insisted that the “perceived distance” between his party and UK Labour’s ceasefire positions isn’t “as big” as people thought.

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“I would suggest is probably no distance at all, to be honest, now,” he said.

Earlier, Keir Starmer, while speaking to journalists in Munich on Saturday, refused to say how his MPs will be instructed to vote on the SNP motion.

Previously, the SNP’s amendment to the King’s Speech calling for an immediate ceasefire caused chaos for Labour, with a number of frontbenchers quitting their positions and rebelling against the leadership, who would only go so far as to call for “humanitarian pauses”.